Garlic scapes are the “flower stalks” of hard neck garlic plants, although they do not produce flowers. These stalks start to appear a month or so after the first leaves and are typically cut off to allow the garlic bulb to grow larger. If the scapes are left on, they eventually form small bulbils that can be planted to grow more garlic, but it takes 2–3 years to form large bulbs.
The hard neck Rocombole garlics are the type of garlic that sends out the curling scapes. These curling scapes gave rise to the nickname ‛serpent garlic’ or “snake garlic”. There are many types of Rocombole garlic, with the most popular varieties being ‘Carpathian’, ‘German Red’ and ‘Spanish Roja’.
Be sure to use your flavorful garlic scapes in any dish that call for garlic flavor. Chopped and added to a salad, pickled, sautéed, tossed into pasta, and made into pesto are just a few of the options.
Garlic scape pesto
1/2 pound garlic scapes
1 Tablespoon vegetable oil
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt, plus more to taste
1/4 cup pine nuts or pistachios
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 cup freshly shredded Pecorino cheese, Gruyere or other hard, flavorful grating cheese
Trim and discard the root ends of garlic scapes.
Finely chop the green garlic scapes.
Rinse thoroughly under cool running water in a colander and pat or spin it dry.
In a large frying pan over medium heat, cook the vegetable oil, garlic scapes, and 1/2 teaspoon of salt until the scapes are soft, about 3 minutes.
Let it cool to warm room temperature.
In a blender or food processor, pulse the pine nuts or pistachios to chop.
Set them aside in a bowl.
Put the cooked garlic scape mixture in and process it, scraping down the sides as necessary, until it is bright green and smooth.
With motor running, drizzle in the olive oil.
Pulse in the reserved nuts and cheese.
By removing the garlic scapes, the bulbs will grow larger.
About 15 garlic scapes
1 dried chile
1 cup cider vinegar
4 teaspoons fine sea salt
4 teaspoons sugar
Trim the garlic scapes, curl them up, and place them in a pint jar with a tight fitting lid.
Work the chile into the jar with the garlic scapes.
In a small saucepan heat the vinegar, salt, and sugar with 1 cup of water until simmering and salt and sugar are dissolved.
Pour the warm vinegar mixture over the garlic scapes to cover them (you may not use all of the vinegar mixture).
Seal the jar.
Let it sit until cool, then store it in the refrigerator for at least 6 weeks and up to six months.
Garlic scape hummus
6 to 8 stalks of garlic scapes
2 Tablespoons lemon juice
1/2 to 3/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
1 can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
3 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Black pepper to taste
1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
Trim the green garlic scapes and chop them.
Put them in the bowl of a food processor and pulse until they’re finely chopped.
Add the lemon juice and salt and whirl until a rough puree forms.
Add the chickpeas and pulse until everything is combined.
Whirl in the oil until a puree forms again.
Stir in pepper and lemon zest to taste.
Adjust seasonings, adding more salt, pepper, or lemon juice as desired.